Does existance imply necessary purpose?

Hi… I’m somewhat new to the boards. I’m a current Phil. major however I’m not used to writing out my ideas, so there is a high probability that what I’m about to say isn’t what I really mean, but oh well. The other day a friend and me were having a discussion, I mentioned that I’m a huge fan of the Stoics. Which she responded to by saying that the stoics were “stupid” for attempting to rid themselves of emotions. I tried to explain that was a very poor view of the stoic philosophy but digressed that I saw nothing wrong if someone for example tried to rid themselves of emotions such as anger or sadness. She then came back with the idea that pain and sadness must serve some necessary purpose, or else they wouldn’t exist. Now at first this ran somewhat counter to my intuition, but as I thought about I can’t seem to think of a single thing (emotion or other) that doesn’t have a necessary reason or purpose to it’s existence. Now I’m left to wonder if that’s because she’s right and that existence implies a necessary purpose, or if it’s just that I’m simply incapable of imagining what “non-purpose” is.

We may give our suffering a purpose and meaning but we do not have to, it is our choice. The suffering I exprience serves no purpose unless I give it a purpose to serve.

I don’t know how this will go, but you might consider this:

Maybe purpose is linked to essence more than to existence. So if you go with Sartre and say existence preceeds essence (and i have never been sute in which meaning of “priority” Sarte spoke of), there is no definite meaning. But if essence preceeds existence, essence might define the end.

Now if you include God in this, He can create an existent with an essence for a purpose, certainly.

Welcome to the boards,
my real name

Taking Webster’s definition of purpose — “an object, effect, or result aimed at, intended, or attained” — , and limiting discussion to just what human beings are and do, I would say:

  1. The results of evolution give the appearance of purpose; i.e., that some external power intended us to be as we are. But that is an illusion. We survived because we produced more progeny who lived, and those who mutated differently died off.

  2. The “purpose” of physical pain is to alert one to an injury. Those hominids who ignored injuries died from them. The “purpose” of emotional pain and sadness may come from the survival benefits of members of a group caring for one another.

  3. Webster’s definition implies some agent who aims at, intends, or attains some object. I do not see any evidence of an agent acting in human evolution or in the physical world. So I do not see “purpose” in those things.

purpose is will, the will to power!

rvw, aren’t you a part of the physical world?

Caspin, see what we have to put up with on this board?
Run…while you still can!!!

un chevalier mal fet

aristotle and most of the scholastic were fascinated with “the causes” of things, and rubbed this issue into the ground, should you feel inclined to read them.

the issue of wether existence implies purpose is in fact one of the most important for philosophers, historically, and most systems tend to include a solution to it, to the degree that one can judge your philosophical filiation/influences by the way you answer the question.

so thank you for the poll, and i dont want to take it, myself :slight_smile:

I meant that I do not see evidence of a god-like agent who “aimed at, intended or attained” human evolution or the physical universe.

It’s just that I thought it might be better to say “human evolution AND the physical universe” – since evolution is part of the physical universe, and surely works by the same rules.

See, Caspin? This is what we can call a tangental post; I’m getting rather fond of them as it saves topic-headings. :wink:

my real name

a beliief in non-existence or indeed existence will not help you.
A hypothesis might work better.

To answer your question and statement.
As i have said on a few occasions, life is a chain of events.
Surely any intelligent and enlightened person can see that.

A simple deduction will then show that whatever you think is the result of internal or external processes.
This will allow you to act on whatever the decision is.
There is no present, only past and its future.
(you’d have to stop time for there to be present)

The purpose of belief, emotion, murder etc is to change the universe.
If that wasn’t the case, nothing would happen.

Chain logic usually solves all problems, its just a question of being able to change your personal beliefs once you’ve worked out the meaning of life.

Don’t be like Einstein and never solve the universe because belief got in your way.

Things have a purpose because we give them one. It is somewhat in our nature to give significance to things. And we cannot escape that fully.

thinking in chains…


“Suppose a very fast runner – such as mythical Atalanta – needs to run for the bus. Clearly before she reaches the bus stop she must run half-way, as Aristotle says. There’s no problem there; supposing a constant motion it will take her 1/2 the time to run half-way there and 1/2 the time to run the rest of the way. Now she must also run half-way to the half-way point – i.e., a 1/4 of the total distance – before she reaches the half-way point, but again she is left with a finite number of finite lengths to run, and plenty of time to do it. And before she reaches 1/4 of the way she must reach 1/2 of 1/4 = 1/8 of the way; and before that a 1/16; and so on. There is no problem at any finite point in this series, but what if the halving is carried out infinitely many times? The resulting series contains no first distance to run, for any possible first distance could be divided in half, and hence would not be first after all. However it does contain a final distance, namely 1/2 of the way; and a penultimate distance, 1/4 of the way; and a third to last distance, 1/8 of the way; and so on. Thus the series of distances that Atalanta is required to run is: …, then 1/16 of the way, then 1/8 of the way, then 1/4 of the way, and finally 1/2 of the way (of course we are not suggesting that she stops at the end of each segment and then starts running at the beginning of the next – we are thinking of her continuous run being composed of such parts). And now there is a problem, for this description of her run has her travelling an infinite number of finite distances, which, Zeno would have us conclude, must take an infinite time, which is to say it is never completed. And since the argument does not depend on the distance or who or what the mover is, it follows that no finite distance can ever be traveled, which is to say that all motion is impossible. (Note that the paradox could easily be generated in the other direction so that Atalanta must first run half way, then half the remaining way, then half of that and so on, so that she must run the following endless sequence of fractions of the total distance: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 ….)”


and here is the solution: … /index.asp

although it’s a good point related to thinking in chains…

Chain logic is the philosophy of time.

more to the point, have any of you read my paper on conclusive determinism?

If so what do you think?
If not, why not!

well here’s the answer to the thread

purpose is whatever an object will do in the present and future.

So yea if the object exists it is doing and is going to do something (e.g exist in the future or change in the future)
these changes only occur because the object exists
therefore existance implies a purpose

Purpose implies an intention,
Intention is not an attribute/quality/characterisitc of any thing.
Intention is always a creative act by a creative agent.
We create intention, it is never discovered “outside.”

Also emotionless people are incapable of making decisions.

xanderman wrote:

What you’re suggesting dismisses first cause and an external omnipitent
creator. You mean that God didn’t intend to create the universe? We weren’t created by God in his image?


I disbelieve in first cause. Everything is mutually arising. The whole is one. God’s intending is creating the universe. It was not a historic event. It is happening now. It is always happening. Your creativity is your divinity. It is always there, always working. We are making the world, every moment of every day.

Are you creating in accord with your own sensation of beauty?

Absolutely. As long as I don’t have to look in a mirror. :stuck_out_tongue: